The Lanka Academic

VOL. 1, NO. 327

F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Norwegian peace envoy pushes MOU forward
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday February 27. Diplomatic sources have revealed that Norway's special envoy Eric Solheim is working hard to pressurize both the Government and the LTTE to signing a Memorandum of Understanding before March 24, 2001 when the unilateral ceasefire, extended by the LTTE for a further one month on February 24, will again end.

Solheim is reported to have disclosed that if both parties do place their signatures to this document peace talks can begin as early as April this year. The Norwegian met with the LTTE's Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham in London last week for the last time before he will meet with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in Colombo next week.

Solheim was expected in Colombo this week but was forced to push back his arrival as President Chandrika Kumaratunge left on a two day visit to India. Though Solheim is now expected in the Island next week this too may change as Kumaratunge is scheduled to leave for Europe for a period of 14 days. The Norwegian as a result may have to bide his time and perhaps meet with her at a European destination.

Meanwhile, Mervyn Silva the Deputy Minister for Social Services & Housing Development for the Fishing Community in the South, today led a protest march along the Galle Road to the British High Commission to hand over a letter demanding that UK proscribe the LTTE. The protesters were stopped at police barriers in the high security area, but Silva together with a few of his supporters was allowed to walk to the BHC and hand over his letter.

The deputy minister addressing a large and unruly crowd minutes before he handed over the letter threatened that if the UK did not ban the Tigers, bigger protests would soon follow.

The Sihala Urumaya too issued a press statement today calling upon the government to refrain from initiating a dialogue with the LTTE and instead to concentrate on militarily defeating the Tigers.
Published: Tue Feb 27 10:18:34 EST 2001

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is a semi-autonomous body at the apex of the financial sector in Sri Lanka today. The objectives of the Central Bank include the stabilization of domestic monetary values and the preservation of the external stability of the Sri Lankan Rupee. It is the advisor to the Government of Sri Lanka on economic affairs and it is responsible for the implementation of Exchange Control Regulations. On January 23rd, 2001, the Central Bank permitted flee float rates for the Sri Lanka Rupee, leading to a massive 6.62% overnight depreciation of its value. The UNP is seeking the mediation of the Court of Appeal to quash this controversial decision. With this backdrop, we invited the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. A. S. Jayawardene to be the guest at our current Question and Answer session.
Your questions to date are here. We have closed this session now and have sent all the questions to the governor and awaiting his response.
No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
NPC deplores military ambush in the Vanni during peace visit
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 p.m. SLT Tuesday February 27. The National Peace Council in a media statement today says that last week's attempt by the military to target top rung Tigers after a meeting between members of the LTTE's political wing and an inter-religious peace delegation from the south of the country was a blow to a civic peace initiative.

The meeting took place in LTTE-controlled territory after the peace delegation received approval to enter it from both the government and LTTE.

As an organisation that seeks to promote a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict, the National Peace Council participated in this meeting between the LTTE and the inter-religious peace delegation.

The LTTE leaders who met with the peace delegation are reported to have narrowly escaped being ambushed by suspected government forces shortly after leaving the meeting place. The permission given by the government to the peace delegation to cross over into LTTE-controlled area at this time when the government has refused to reciprocate the LTTE's unilateral ceasefire needs to be appreciated. But, the NPC asserts that the organization views the attempted ambush after a peace meeting as a blow to civic efforts to build bridges of goodwill and understanding between the conflicting parties.
Published: Tue Feb 27 10:27:09 EST 2001

President deplores public service sector
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 p.m. SLT Tuesday February 27. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge addressing a gathering of personnel from Sri Lanka's public service sector today, said that in future all increments and promotions would depend on the merit performance of the individual.

The president went on to add that Sri Lanka's public service was sadly lacking in management skills and was still functioning according to an old system that urgently requires upgrading. She further observed that employees in the public service were not committed or skilled in their work and that she intended to change this sorry state of affairs.
Published: Tue Feb 27 10:18:34 EST 2001

In their own words
National Post, february 24. The government's foolishness or knavery on the subject is now exposed for all to see. Ottawa's own lawyers in the Suresh deportation case explicitly named FACT as one of the Tamil Tigers' many "political and benevolent front organizations" -- one that "raises money" from "willing or unwilling expatriate communities abroad, such as the large number of Tamil refugees in Canada." That is, the government makes the case in court that the organization defended by ministers in Parliament, extorts money from overseas Tamils -- perhaps from the very constituents in whose interests the Liberal ministers self-righteously claim to be acting. You might expect decency to prompt Mr. Martin and Ms. Minna to apologize to those whose reputations they sullied so gratuitously last year. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 20:35:55 EST 2001

The Lanka Academic, Monday, 26 February 2001. England's batsman Graham Thorpe plays a defensive stroke as cricket fans demonstrate demanding the British government to ban the Tamil Tiger rebels operations in England, during the final day of the first cricket test between England and Sri Lanka on Monday, February 26, 2001. The demonstrators want the British government to include Tamil Tigers in a list of organizations banned under England's new anty terrorism act. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 00:54:24 EST 2001
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Sri Lankan media acknowledges faulty umpiring  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Sri Lankans demonstrate, demand ban on LTTE
Times of India, 28 February 2001 . About 2,000 Sri Lankans demonstrated in front of the British High Commission on Tuesday, asking Britain to ban Tamil Tiger rebels who are engaged in a separatist war in this small tropical island.The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have their international headquarters in London. The demonstrators in front of the commission, which acts as Britain's embassy, were led by Mervyn Silva, a minister in the government. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 18:18:27 EST 2001

Firemen squabble over cost of blaze at fireworks factory
Island, 28 February 2001. COLOMBO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan police were squabbling on Tuesday with a local fire brigade over the cost of fighting a blaze at a fireworks factory after an explosion that killed three people. "Almost one hour after the blast...we are having some difficulty getting a fire brigade," said Raja Weerakoon, Senior Superintendent of Police in the Kimbulapitiya area where the factory was located about 35 km (21 miles) north of Colombo. He said the fire brigade at the nearby Gampaha town was demanding 10,000 rupees ($116) to fight a fire outside their municipal area. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 22:43:52 EST 2001
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Three killed in fire cracker factory blow up in Sri Lanka  -
Fire cracker factory blows up in Sri Lanka  -

Sri Lanka protesters demand British ban on rebels
MSNBC, Feb 27 2001 13:17 IST. Demonstrators demanding Britain ban Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels handed over a petition to the British High Commission in Colombo on Tuesday after a lacklustre protest march sponsored by the government. ''This is a peaceful demonstration to demand that Britain ban the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). If they don't, we will take more drastic action,'' said Deputy Fisheries Minister Mervyn Silva, who led the march. A Reuters cameraman said no more than 200 people turned out for the march, which was announced in an official government communique. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 09:08:02 EST 2001

Sri Lanka declares amnesty for army deserters
ABC News, february 27. Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared an amnesty for army deserters in a bid to woo them back into ranks depleted by an 18-year ethnic war. "An amnesty is declared from March 6-14 for all soldiers who have deserted the ranks," the Defence Ministry said in statement. Similar amnesties have been announced several times in the past, but have met with only a lukewarm response from an estimated 15,000 deserters. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 09:48:29 EST 2001

US Human Rights reports says Lankan disable people facing discrimination
Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, Los Angeles Time 8.00 p.m 26 Feb. by Bandula Jayasekara in Los Angeles: United States Human Rights report for year 2000 released today noted that disable persons in Sri Lanka face difficulties because of negative attitudes and discrimination, despite the legislation passed by the Sri Lankan parliament in 1996 forbidding discrimination against any person on the grounds of disability. The report notes that the law in Sri Lanka does not mandate accessibility to buildings or government services for the disabled.The report states that WHO estimated that 7 percent of the population in Sri Lanka is disabled.
Published: Mon Feb 26 23:00:53 EST 2001

Indian aerobatic team for Sri Lanka airforce jubilee, Feb 27 2001 10:35 IST. India's aerobatic squad is expected to be the main attraction at the golden jubilee of Sri Lanka's airforce next month, officials here said Tuesday. The aerobatics squad known as Surya Kiran will perform at the main celebrations at the Ratmalana airforce base, just outside the Sri lankan capital Colombo on March 9, officials said. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 09:06:41 EST 2001

Lankan cricket fans call for a ban on the LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Monday February 26. Hundreds of Lankan cricket fans today demonstrated on the old Galle Fort ramparts holding a massive banner which stated that the British should ban the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. Holding the banner aloft for the benefit of television cameras the cricket enthusiasts called upon the UK to proscribe the LTTE. The incident took place even as the English cricket team began losing innings in the first test cricket match played with Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile the National Peace Council in a press statement says that for the past two months, the issue of the impending British decision whether or not to ban the LTTE has taken center stage of public interest. Both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE seemed to be deciding on their actions with the British ban in mind, and not with making a success of the Norwegian-facilitated peace process in their minds. The indefinite postponement of that decision by the British government is an opportunity for the two parties to get away from an over-emphasis on the British ban and to take positive steps regarding the peace process. The National Peace Council believes that an undue amount of importance has become attached to the issue of the British ban. The NPC notes that it must be borne in mind that the British legislation to ban organisations deemed to be terrorist was developed to protect their interests, not with our interests in mind. Whatever decision the British take will not change in the slightest the issue of justice and the need for power-sharing between the ethnic communities in Sri Lanka. The NPC further adds that when a delegation of inter-religious leaders who visited the Wanni together with the National Peace Council and met with the LTTE earlier last week, the LTTE representatives had said that the LTTE was prepared to drop the demand for a separate state if a peaceful and just solution was negotiated with them by the government. The peace organization observes that "the prolongation of the conflict, and the failure to resolve it, will continue to bleed the country physically, economically and morally,"
Published: Mon Feb 26 07:37:24 EST 2001

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Cricket fans demand British ban on Tigers  -

SRI LANKA PRESS:Parties Want To Meet Govt Ahead Of Budget
Yahoo India, February 27. Political party leaders have requested a meeting with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and finance ministry officials before the presentation of the 2001 budget, reports the Island Tuesday. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 09:05:49 EST 2001

Firemen squabble over cost of Sri Lanka blaze
MSNBC, february 27. Sri Lankan police were squabbling on Tuesday with a local fire brigade over the cost of fighting a blaze at a fireworks factory after an explosion that killed three people. ''Almost one hour after the blast...we are having some difficulty getting a fire brigade,'' said Raja Weerakoon, Senior Superintendent of Police in the Kimbulapitiya area where the factory was located about 35 km (21 miles) north of Colombo. He said the fire brigade at the nearby Gampaha town was demanding 10,000 rupees ($116) to fight a fire outside their municipal area. More...
Published: Tue Feb 27 09:03:58 EST 2001

Taliban order targets 5th-century Buddhas
San Jose Mercury News, Tuesday, February. 27, 2001. KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban rulers ordered the destruction Monday of all statues, including a pair of monumental fifth century Buddhas towering over 100 feet tall and carved out of a mountainside. The order came from the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who issued an edict declaring statues, including the ancient Buddhas, insulting to Islam. ``Because God is one God and these statues are there to be worshiped, and that is wrong, they should be destroyed so that they are not worshiped now or in the future,'' Omar said in his edict, published by the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency. More... [More photos of Bamiyan ruins]
Published: Tue Feb 27 10:49:48 EST 2001
Related News Stories
Lanka, Thailand decry Taliban threat to destroy ancient Buddha statue  - The Hindustan Times
Sri Lanka shocked by Taliban move to destroy Bamiyan Buddhas  -
Taleban orders destruction of statues  - BBC
Afghanistan's famous Buddhas under death sentence  - Yahoo

LTTE seize fishing boats, kill soldier, policeman
Times of India, 27 February 2001 . Tamil separatist rebels seized nine Sri Lankan fishermen on five fishing boats and killed a soldier and a policeman in two other clashes, a government spokesman said on Monday.Eight of the fishermen who were captured in the sea off the eastern Batticaloa town on Friday were later released, and one man was being held, Ariya Rubasinghe said. The incident More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 17:17:49 EST 2001
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Tamil Tigers pound army lines in Sri Lanka  -

Space travel should not be limited to therich-Aldrin
Island, 27 February 2001. Second man on moon Edwin Aldrin who was in Colombo on Sunday said that the future of space exploration relied on the commercialisation of space travel that would provide an opportunity for "space tourism." Meeting the press during his brief stay of few hours enroute to Maldives in a luxury cruise, Buzz Aldrin as he is fondly known said that the opportunity for a tour in space or in the moon that would ensue should not only be limited to the rich as there can be an international lottery system to select those who yearn to travel to space. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 20:46:53 EST 2001

British bill puts Tamil Tigers on notice
Japan Times, february 26. Britain's new antiterrorist legislation that comes into force Monday has generated mixed reaction in various circles within Britain as well as internationally. While the British government has hailed the bill as a powerful means to curtail terrorism worldwide, opponents of the legislation claim it is Draconian and inhumane.The case of Sri Lanka serves as the best example of the impact the law may have outside of Britain. The former British colony has been devastated by nearly two decades of ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. Both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil militants are now waiting to see the affect of the British antiterrorist law, which could substantially change the course of the conflict. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 19:53:21 EST 2001

Sri Lanka is fighting India?s war, says Air Marshal Ranasinghe
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, February 26. THE FORMER commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force, Air Marshal Oliver Ranasinghe, has said the war Sri Lanka is fighting now is not Sri Lanka's but India's. In an unsolicited four-page submission to the Sri Lankan President, Mrs Chandrika Kuma-ratunga, Ranasinghe says: "At present, we are fighting a war which is not ours but India's. We are fighting it in our country for India." More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 15:45:18 EST 2001

Lankan Bishops urge President to consider Tiger truce
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 a.m. SLT Monday February 26 . Two Lankan Bishops and other Catholic clergymen are to meet with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge this week to urge her to reciprocate the Tigers ceasefire which the LTTE extended for the third consecutive month last Thursday.

Two prominent Bishop's, Rayappu Joseph of Mannar and Bishop Saunderanayagam for Jaffna have written to Tiger Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran appealing to him to stand by his position of a unilateral truce and initiate a peace process as soon as possible.

The Norwegian backed peace process was seen to gather momentum last week when President Kumaratunge also stated that she expected to begin the first round of negotiations with the LTTE within the next two months. The Government however have refused to observe the Tiger ceasefire and insist that a de-escalation of the conflict can begin only after negotiations are progressing satisfactorily.
Published: Mon Feb 26 07:37:23 EST 2001

Jaya, Murali dupe visitors -- A spinister plot, say England
Yahoo India, February 27. Sri Lanka?s Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya sent England spinning to a crushing defeat on the final afternoon of the first Test on Monday as the match ended in umpiring controversy. The tourists, 217 behind after their first innings and resuming on 118 for two, lost by an innings and 28 runs as they collapsed to 189 all out. Their last seven wickets went down or 44 and their last five for 13. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 16:54:12 EST 2001
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England skipper questions umpiring after Test defeat  - Yahoo India
Sri Lanka's Jayasuriya, Muralitharan rout England  - Yahoo India
Cricket-England coach Fletcher mulls over umpiring controversy  - Yahoo India
Sri Lankan players fined by Match Referee  - cricinfo
Sri Lankan players fined, Ian Botham blasts umpires  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Optimism over SAARC summit
The Hindu (International), Tuesday, February 27, 2001. COLOMBO, FEB. 26.The decision to hold the meeting of the SAARC Foreign Secretaries in May this year has renewed optimism about the regional grouping, but officials said it was too early to say whether it would lead to the much-delayed summit. ``There could be a meeting of the council (SAARC Foreign Ministers) some time after the Foreign Secretaries meet, but even that is not automatic. We have to work our way slowly,'' said an official. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 16:54:39 EST 2001

England, Sri Lanka cricketers mourn Bradman's death
Times of India (Breaking News), Monday . 26 February 2001

Sri Lankan cricketers, some with folded hands, and England players observed a two-minute silence on Monday ahead of the last day's play of the first test to mourn the death of the game's legendary batsman, Donald Bradman.Bradman, heralded as much for his humility and integrity off the cricket field as for his outstanding play on it, died at his Adelaide home Sunday at the age of 92. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 09:09:45 EST 2001

Sri Lankan bird watcher finds new owl species
MSNBC, february 26. A Sri Lankan bird watcher has found a new species of owl -- the island's first new bird finding in 132 years. ''It's a scops owl of the genus Otus that is new to science,'' Nanda Senanayake, chairman of Ceylon Bird Club, told Reuters on Monday.He said the bird, yet to be named, was first spotted last month by ornithologist Deepal Warakagoda, who had been tracking its call for several years. More...
Published: Mon Feb 26 09:16:03 EST 2001

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